In an office in the old sorting house there worked an architect. Sound familiar? Well it should. We here at Arkhi have been looking forward to Tolkien Day all month and have prepared for you a list of places you can visit to truly feel like a halfling.
Craighead Howf, Perthshire, Scotland
Craighead Howf is marketed as unique glamping and offers seven quirky properties to book. Two of those are Burrows, round door stone underground houses reminiscent of Tolkein. Both built by Ian & Lewis Keir The Burrows are single story open plan buildings with a large double beds, bath or shower, chairs set around a stovepipe fire, and dining table. These are real labors of love as the buildings were constructed by the landowners out of local stone and wood. The beds and sinks are also handmade for the rooms.These holiday lets are incredibly sustainable as they’re off grid and make use of additional eco-friendly features such as their compost toilets.
Underground Hygge Orondo , Washington, United States
On the edge of the Columbia River Gorge nestled among the slope is the Underground Hygge. This example of subterranean architecture sits at the end of a pleasant but steep climb that gives it almost photoshop levels of scenic views. As with all our Tolkien homes it sports a living roof. Living roofs are long lived making use of natural insulation to reduce energy costs and have a positive environmental impact as a habitat for wildlife like birds and insects. The interior is a cosy 288 sq ft with a bedroom, bathroom, and sitting room with a wood burning fire. Interestingly enough this particular building is equipped with a woodworking bench to encourage guests to carve during their stay. The land surrounding the property is 6 acres and offers the possibility for hiking.
Second Breakfast Hideaway, British Columbia, Canada
Of all the Tolkien inspired homes I think this is the one I’d most like to visit. With an interior surprisingly large for a subterranean dwelling and the perfect mix of Tolkien themed embellishments I find the atmosphere of this holiday home in the Okanagan Highlands of British Columbia truly fitting. Inside this house are all the features familiar by now, central hearth, bedroom, dining area, kitchen, and offers a much greater degree of separation between the spaces. The location offers hundreds of acres and country to explore.
Hobbiton™ Matamata, New Zealand
If an authentic experience is important to you then nothing will be more authentic than visiting the location where the films were shot. Hobbiton™ in Matamata in New Zealand was built on Alexander farm, a stunning 1250 acre sheep farm in 1999. After filming these structures were demolished with only the fronts of the buildings remaining until 2009 when Peter Jackson returned to film The Hobbit™. During this time the guided tours that had been taking place were paused until after filming, when 44 permanently reconstructed Hobbit Holes™ replaced the existing facades. While you can’t stay in Hobbiton™ the experience is certainly memorable especially since 2012 when The Green Dragon™ Inn opened as part of the tour stocking a line of food and drink suitable to its fantasy atmosphere.
Berllan Dawel, Lammas eco-village
The Tolkien homes constructed at Berllan Dawel were done so for very different reasons than the rest of our list. As I may have alluded during this roundup, underground dwellings can be extremely eco-friendly and the one constructed here was done primarily for its low impact on the environment. Berllan Dawel used to be two steep fields stripped of anything for local wildlife and offering no shelter from the wind. As part of the newly born Lammas eco-village in West Wales the site has been transformed by the planting of 10,000 trees, shrubs and plants; the digging of 6 ponds; and the construction of several earth sheltered roundhouses. Like Tolkien’s iconic dwellings they are dug into the hillside and made of local stone, wood, and mud. While you can’t stay in this home you can visit Lammas where they offer consultancy, advice and training on all aspects of ecological, integrated design.